LONDON — A major storm with hurricane-force gusts lashed southern Britain, the Netherlands and parts of France on Monday, knocking down trees, flooding low areas, and causing travel chaos. At least 13 people were killed.
Weather forecasters say it is one of the worst storms to hit Britain in years. Gusts of about 100 miles per hour were reported on the Isle of Wight in southern England, while gusts up to 80 hit the UK mainland.
UK Power Networks officials said up to 270,000 homes were without power. Flood alerts were issued for many parts of southern England and emergency officials said hundreds of trees were knocked down by gusts.
London’s Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest, canceled at least 130 flights and express trains between central London and Gatwick and Stansted airports were suspended. Huge waves prompted the major English port of Dover to close, cutting off ferry services to France.
A nuclear power station in Kent, southern England, automatically shut its two reactors after storm debris reduced its incoming power supply. Officials at the Dungeness B plant said the reactors had shut down safely and would be brought back online once power was restored.
In central London, a huge building crane near the prime minister’s office crumpled in the gusts.
Thousands of homes in northwestern France also lost electricity, while in the Netherlands several rail lines shut down and airport delays were reported. Dutch citizens were warned against riding bicycles because of the winds.